Vinyl Decals With Letter Shadow


About: Based in San Francisco I strive to incorporate custom lettering in the art that I design, print, and make.

Here is a basic overview of 3 methods to achieve a text drop shadow with vinyl decals

1) using a white reflective layer (PUCI decal example in step 3)
2) using a metal reflective look (SFlettering decal in Steps 2 and 5) - best overall look
3) using a silver marker to drawn in shadow (see step 4)

Submitted by SFlettering for the Instructables Sponsorship Program

Step 1: Actual Single Layer Decal of SFlettering

Here is the actual single layer vinyl decal used in this example.
This SFlettering decal was chosen because of the thin lines and spacing to show off the drop shadow on the letters.
The vinyl color pink was chosen to maximize the contrast for demonstration purposes.

I made it at Techshop

Step 2: Double Layer in Vinyl

Here is the beginning of the SFlettering decal showing a double layer vinyl decal with the letter shadow set-up with the top layer up and to the right of the initial shadow layer. This example would happen if the light producing the shadow was from up and to the right of the letters.

Step 3: Double Layer in Vinyl With PUCI Decal

This PUCI brand decal shows a more aggressive version of a double vinyl decal where I used 2 vinyl stencils of the same stencil in 100% and 130% size differences. The size difference produced a more aggressive shadow lettering style that could be a great option for a very aggressive brand decal.

Step 4: Shadow Layer With Sakura Silver Marker

Here are 2 images of the vinyl decal placed on top of a photograph image and using a silver sakura calligraphy pen to create the letter shadows. This method of using a pen for the shadow effect is much faster, but produces a less polished look. 

If you have an existing decal in place this is a good method to use. For new projects I would advise using 2 layers of vinyl decals to get the most polished look. 

The silver pen used for the shadow has a flat nib. A rounded nib will produce less precise lines.

Step 5: Great Double Layer Vinyl Look for Letters With a Shadow Effect

The double layer vinyl decal looks great on top of wood with a relfective metal / mirrored vinyl decal for the background shadow with a vinyl decal in pink to produce maximum contrast from the shadow color and the wood background. 

Overall you can improve or adapt your look of the final decal by
1) changing the offset when placing the 2nd layer of the vinyl decal to show less of the shadow layer 
2) changing the relative sizes of the 2 decals when printing them 



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